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Where do pets fall when it comes to estate administration?

Millions of Americans, including many here in Illinois, consider their pets members of the family. As such, they may want to provide for them after death. When it comes to estate administration, executors and trustees are tasked with carrying out the wishes of the decedent by making sure they honor the provisions regarding pets.

When creating a plan for the care of a pet after death, it would be advisable not to make it too complex or unrealistic. For instance, including a requirement that the individual who is to care for the pet to feed it only a certain type of food may cause issues if the food specified is not available or affordable. In addition, it would be beneficial to consult with the person intended to take over the care of the pet prior to making it official in a will or trust.

The current owner may love the animal, but that may not be the case with the intended caretaker. Moreover, it may be a good idea to leave monies for the care of the animal, either through a will or a trust, to the individual who will care for the pet after the owner's death. The money should not be left to the pet directly, and provisions could be added regarding what happens to any monies left over after the pet dies.

Taking these steps could make this portion of estate administration easier. The Illinois resident, executor (or trustee) and the caretaker will all know what will happen and how the details will be handled. This could give the pet owner peace of mind that this beloved member of the family will receive love and care in his or her absence.

Source: Fox News, "How to care for your pets after you die -- and what you should never do", Sept. 1, 2017

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